Thursday, October 17, 2013

Call for submissions on section 37 of Employment Equality Act 1998 (Religious Ethos)

From -

"Call for Submissions: 

Proposed amendment to section 37 of the Employment Equality Acts 1998 – 2011 

The Equality Authority is inviting submissions from interested parties as part of a consultation process in relation to a proposed amendment to s37 of the Employment Equality Acts 1998 – 2011. Submissions are welcome in electronic format to  and should be no more than 2,000 words in length. The deadline is 5.00pm on Friday November 1st 2013. 


You may also be aware that The Programme for Government stated: “People of non-faith or minority religious backgrounds and publicly identified LGBT people should not be deterred from training or taking up employment as teachers in the State”. 

The s37 provision may also have an impact in institutions that have a religious ethos such as those in the health sector. 

The Minister for Justice and Equality has decided to merge the Equality Authority with the Irish Human Rights Commission. His letter of appointment to the members of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (designate) (the “Commission designate”) sets out that he wanted to address the amendment of s37 of the Employment Equality Acts 1998 – 2011 with the Commission members as a priority matter.

 The Commission designate has agreed to review the issue and the Executive of the Equality Authority are leading this project. The Irish Human Rights Commission (IHRC) has also agreed to assist in this project.  For further information please contact Ms. Nuala Cuddy on 0505-24126 or 1890 245 545."

For some of the background on the religious ethos exception, see the following:

  • Gerry Whyte, 'Protecting Religious Ethos in Employment Law: A Clash of Cultures' (2005) 12 Dublin University Law Journal 169   
  • Mark Coen, 'Religious Ethos and Employment Equality: a Comparative Irish Perspective' (2008) 28(3) Legal Studies 452  
  • Mark Coen 'Living the Ethos?' (2007) 101(6) Gazette of Law Society of Ireland 33    
  • Mark Coen, 'Churches must not be immune from sections of equality law',  Irish Times, 4 August 2007 
The well-known Eileen Flynn case is available here - Flynn v. Power [1985] IEHC 1; [1985] IR 648.